Old Mysteries, New Insights

Ancient DNA illuminates 15,000 years of history at Europe-Asia crossroads

flaking and cracked fresco nonetheless shows a colorful and well-painted image of a horse shown from the side

Fresco of a horse from the ancient kingdom of Urartu in what is now Armenia and Turkey. The new DNA analyses included several individuals associated with the kingdom. Image: EvgenyGenkin/CC BY-SA 3.0

Growing up in Greece, Iosif Lazaridis shared his compatriots’ appreciation that they lived in “the crossroads of Europe and Asia,” past and present.

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To the east lay Turkey and Armenia, gateways to the Near East and Asia. To the north were the Balkans, leading the way into central Europe.

Lazaridis wondered how people in these regions were related to one another. Who shared long-ago ancestry with whom? How might those forebears have moved around this part of the world and had children with one another throughout millennia? How deeply connected were their modern descendants despite national borders and political conflicts?

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    Paper 2

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  • portion of a Mycenaean fresco found at the Palace of Nestor depicting people fighting at all angles, wearing tunics

    Paper 3

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